Sunday, May 27, 2012

Readymade for the Trail

It's no secret that Carbonate Mountain plays a huge role in early spring training for Sun Valley-area trail runners.  In case there were any question of its storied place in our hearts and running schedules, I wrote a paean to it a couple years back on these very (digital) pages (link).

A better kept secret is my love for the old, and now empty, water reservoir that rests just above the Carbonate trailhead.  Though I've yet to verify its full history, it's believed the reservoir held the town's water supply during its boomtown mining days.  These days, it's the receptacle for semi-sanctioned street art, and I love how its broad reach of colors punctuates the sage covered hills stitched with dusty trail.

It made a brief appearance in a photo on Run Junkie about a year ago, and Stacy of the Wilderness Running Company, commented that it reminded him of Wallace Stevens' poem: "Anecdote of the Jar."  A couple lines:
The wilderness rose up to it,
And sprawled around, no longer wild.
It's certainly an apt and sage allusion, but Stevens' vision seems a bit too fatalistic to relate fully to the old reservoir, at least how I experience it. For me, the structure brings more to mind Duchamp's "readymades" - the urinal turned upside down and labeled "fountain;" the bicycle fork and wheel attached to the top of a stool; an every day item found, tweaked through purpose into something else, and in that transformation, art and commentary.

The graffitied reservoir does much this same thing, maybe without the grand vision of Duchamp but surely with similar result.  So stark is its contrast with its surroundings, both immediate and valley-wide, that one is forced to question what it is one is seeing, and in that, develop a narrative for the past, present, and future. That is certainly one definition of art.

And however artlessly I'm running the Carbonate trail - no matter how tired, how cold, or how wet - I always take a solid glance at the reservoir as the switchback grazes its western edge.  Both of us out of place but both transformed by that very place we are.

2012 Titus van Rijn 1-Hour Distance Classic - Sun Valley

There are but a few key spring waypoints on the route to the trail racing high season, and one of them for Sun Valley-area runners is the 60 minute time test on the track that is the Titus van Rijn 1-Hour Distance Classic.  With no where to hide from wind, clock, or peers, it provides an unvarnished picture of just where one's mental and physical fitness lies ahead of summer's plans.

So, under unstable skies, eleven brave runners toed the line, with events playing out pretty much true to form of previous years.  Despite taking the group around the first lap at 4:30 pace, Brad Mitchell - on a stripped down three run per week training schedule - settled in and took the overall with an impressive 15,700 meters (9.76 miles).  Liv Jensen - new to the 40 and over age group - took the women's overall title with 12,580 meters (7.82 miles).  Full results and photos below.

Good will and black cherry soda were, as always, abundant at the after party.   The only thing missing - prodigal son AJW and his split side fish shorts.

Except for post-run images, all photos by Anne J.